by Dr. David Minkoff November 19, 2020 6 min read
Weight-loss diets are a big industry – especially when you consider that two out of three Americans are either overweight or clinically obese.
No, seriously, two out of every three Americans.
But with hundreds of popular diets, special diet foods, and health companies out there, why does the obesity problem continue to worsen?
Well, without going into a dissertation on social economics and the industrial food supply, a key factor that influences this is the commercialization and marketing of diets with false claims. If the American population tackled the subject of weight loss and obesity based on proven scientific data and individual needs, the market for diets and special foods would shrink dramatically – and these companies would lose income. So, what do they do? They make false claims, present unproven, false information, leaving Americans confused.
In truth, maintaining a healthy, fit, athletic body requires consideration and attention to many factors, and no single dietary program will work for everyone. While almost every program has merits, from Keto to Paleo and beyond, the fact remains that each person is unique, and you must discover your body’s unique nutritional requirements for weight loss – and optimum health.
Today we are going to provide you with some simple basics that can help you (and anyone) discover your optimal diet and help you on the road to improved wellness.
The big problem with many popular diets is that they cannot be maintained long-term, so the person will lose 20 to 30 pounds, stop dieting, and then gain the weight back, over and over.
The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to discover a diet that works for you, and that can be implemented as a lifestyle change. Massive fluctuations in weight throw your body systems out of balance as well as causing aesthetic side effects.
When it comes to a diet that you can maintain long-term, consider the following:
As an example, one of our clients did a diet and exercise program that helped him lose 30 pounds of fat within 3 to 4 months while gaining muscle mass. This was a last-ditch attempt at fitness after he had tried countless diets, including HCG, paleo, cutting out carbs and bread, etc.:
His personalized program was designed after blood testing discovered that he was allergic to gluten, dairy, corn, and sugar – and that those foods were destroying his metabolism. After his first month on this program, he started dropping 3 to 4 pounds per week with a significant uptick in his energy level.
But here is the best part: After being on this diet for four months, he was able to maintain his dietary regulations and has kept the weight off. After a year, he was still in the best shape of his adult life.
Key takeaway: Your diet must be a system you can adopt as a lifestyle to maintain your health and weight into the future.
While “counting calories” has gotten a bad name in recent years, there is a fundamental truth that weight loss and optimal health management involves the basic calculation of:
Calories in must be less than or equal to calories burned.
The challenge is that each person’s caloric burning rate varies based on their weight, muscle mass, activity level, and metabolic function.
In your diet, the easiest ways to manage this are:
Another important factor to consider is the subject of protein.
Many people diet by cutting down on their carbs and increasing their protein intake, especially with protein powders as meal replacements. Whey, soy, pea, and many other forms of protein are hugely popular – but they all have a hidden downside: Proteins are not all created equal.
Your body digests each gram of protein you eat into amino acids – the building blocks of protein. It then proceeds to take the amino acids it needs to build muscle, nerves and perform the thousands of bioactive processes that require protein.
But what about all the amino acids your body does not need? Well, here is the dirty secret: Unused amino acids become calories that are turned into fat or sugar.
But just how much of the protein you eat is used this way? Well, here is a chart that shows the typical usage rates for common protein sources:
To optimize your diet for weight loss, you need the right proteins in the right amounts – which will help your body thrive and burn clean energy while eliminating stores of fat (rather than building them up).
Fats and carbohydrates are two critical macro-nutrients your body needs to survive – but like protein, there is a huge gulf between healthy, nutritious carbs and fats, and that empty, toxic stuff that packs on the pounds and makes you feel terrible.
Healthy fats, for example, provide your body with clean-burning and consistent energy while protecting your body from a wide range of health issues and diseases, including:
Healthy carbs are your body’s primary energy source. In the right quantities, they help keep your blood sugar at optimal levels. They aid in digestion, feed your gut biome, and support your brain, kidneys, heart, and your nervous system.
So why do we want to limit fats and carbs?
Because, like everything, you need fats and carbs that are loaded with nutrients, and you need to consume them in moderation.
When it comes to healthy dietary fats, we recommend:
Avoid over-processed, empty carbs (like sugar, white rice, and white flour) while making sure your diet includes moderate amounts of healthy carbs like:
Important note: Your body will likely respond to some foods better than others. Food allergies and intolerances do not always have symptoms such as rashes and sneezing – they often cause inflammation, bloating, and poor digestion. You must determine which foods are best for your body.
The best diet for you is the one that provides your body with the nutrients it needs while keeping your calorie ratio balanced. It should stimulate your metabolism and help keep your body in fat-burning mode, and not involve starving yourself. Most importantly, it should be a sustainable, enjoyable lifestyle change that helps you look and feel your best!
by Dr. David Minkoff
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